Some of the reasons why I wrote this book 

There is a time when we realize that life is not to be taken for granted. There is a time when we realize that our loved ones will not be by our side forever.  There is a time when something snaps and out of nowhere, we are in a reality where we can literally see, feel, and understand the  depth or should I say  the nature of genuine love.  It’s a blessing to come to such point in ones life.  It’s also a tough moment of a reality check, because in such times we know how impermanent it all is.  How, one moment we are here, and the next we are not.  And somehow in times of such realization, it is not that we get old per se, but rather gain depth and scope if I can put it that way.  For me, this point in life was life changing.  The good thing is that I felt this way many many many years ago and this gave me the chance to live fully each moment of my life. For my family and friends, and the people in my life, it allowed me to mindfully enjoy them and just soak in the pleasure of being together.  I just knew and continue to know that for the finite time we have together, the responsibility to draw meaning is ours, and ours alone.

All this to say that we all have so loved  Almazesha, our Grandmother, that I could not have not told the story of our lives.  Family is wonderful…and within families, I have to say that  Grandparents are God’s gift to the world.  Grandparents are   wonderful, over and beyond what words can say.    So, while this book is about my Grandmother;  it’s really a book to celebrate, love, remember, honor  Grandmothers and Grandfathers  all over the World.

Let us tell our stories
Celebrate our Lives Mindful of  all Blessings
That we May Pass on the Love
Now and Forever 


Editors Note

This book touched my heart many times, as I too was mostly raised by a beloved grandmother. Yene’s storytelling is lyrical, evocative, and honest—by the end of the book, I felt like I’d been friends with her for decades. Even on my fourth reading, I was still exclaiming and writing marginal notes to Yene about the connections between my life and hers; it was sometimes hard to keep my focus on editing rather than reading.

For anyone who has lost a dearly beloved mother, grandmother, aunt, or wise elder friend, Yene’s poetry and letters to her grandmother express that relationship and grieving with such beauty, offering healing for the wounded soul. In addition, her description of her childhood home and community filled me with longing—I wish my son could grow up in such an environment and culture. Finally, I learned a lot about Ethiopia and about myself through my heartfelt response to Yene’s story. A beautiful read, well worth the time.

Read Short Excerpt from Sparrows:

My child, never forget that this too shall pass; there is nothing permanent in life. Our lives on this earth might be an illusion. We think we are in control, yet the truth is that we are to be transported by waves of events, circumstances, and conditions that come and go. And as the events come and go, you will see that your life changes in so many ways—at times to your advantage, at times otherwise — Read More from this Introduction